Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The first day: A dreadlock story.

Years ago, when I was growing my second son, I stopped brushing my hair.

It wasn't really an intentional thing. I was exhausted. I had barely transitioned into motherhood when I found out I was pregnant again. I spent my awake hours chasing a toddling one year old. I threw up every morning and every afternoon and occasionally in the night. My make-up collected dust and my hair went from the shower into a style reminiscent of a ratty ball on the back of my head.

It was a rough few months.

One afternoon, I was sitting in the play area of the mall in Knoxville, TN, a place I always felt distinctly young and plain and inadequate next to all of the other moms. And then she walked in. A mother with a baby in a wrap and dreadlocks down to her waist.

I was in shock. Up until that point, I had never met another mom in real life (meaning not on the internet) that was into wraps and cloth diapers. And this mom radiated confidence. She was like me, I thought, but she didn't brush her hair and it was cool.

When I was in high school, I loved dreadlocks. I talked about getting them but then I graduated, became a mother, started pursuing photography. It became, in my mind, a missed oppourtunity. Then I met the mom in the mall.
I have never been fancy. I always lean to the natural. And I really hate fooling with hair. It dawned on me that dreadlocks would actually be really awesome for me.  I started to research. All of the misconceptions I'd had were resolved. I stumbled upon Sara Janssen's blog, and began following her dreadlocks story. I was in love. This was the hair I was made for.
But then I started to talk about it. To friends and family. "Oh no," they said, "You don't want to do that to your hair."
I was worried about what people would think. Worried that their opinions might limit me.

So I didn't do it.

It's been nearly 8 years since my chat with the dreadie momma in the mall. I've forgotten her name but every time I meet a woman with dreads, I am alight with interest and I remember her. I've followed bloggers, and YouTubers and anyone with a public dread journey with a longing in my heart.

A hairstyle is only an unimportant detail of a person's life. This hair, dreadlocks, is just something I like. But it does not define me. Nothing that you see on the outside defines me.  My hair holds the same power to tell you who I am as my old van, or my favorite, worn-down shoes, or my goodwill jeans. I buy the things I like and clothe this temporary body with them. And you should do the same. None of it really matters in the end. My value lies in Christ, who has such affection for me and my unkempt hair that he pulled on skin, became a man and pursued me all the way to the grave.

It's because of Him that I don't really want to strive for this world's version of beautiful. See, when my eyes are on Him, I feel the boldness to be exactly who He made me to be. I have a purpose. I am custom made. When I go to the play area now, I no longer notice my differences as inadequacies. I am ok with being the only woman without a manicure. I don't see what I'm lacking. Because I am sure that God made me to be the sort of woman who grows things. Things like vegetables and flowers and beautiful children, but not nice fingernails.

I want to be the woman described in 1 Peter 3: a woman made beautiful by the unfading beauty of a gentle spirit, not by the work she puts into her external appearance. I want someone to know me and think I'm lovely. Not because what they see but because when they know me, they will see my God.
I like dreadlocks because they say to the world that I don't care to fit in it's box. Because my Jesus didn't. Because sometimes following Him makes people shake their head. Sometimes it makes them judge you. Sometimes they may even hate you even though they've never taken the time you see your lovely heart.

Today my friend Ari came and started the process of putting my hair into this crazy, wonderful, natural hairstyle. It's my kind of beautiful. I'm happy to be able to share this journey with you. Today is the first day of my dreadlocks, but it isn't the beginning of their story. Their story started years ago really.

(I'd just like to add my Ari is amazing at this. I am very tough headed but it really didn't hurt at all. She is very, very reasonable in her pricing and is totally passionate about helping chicks like me fulfill the dread dream. If you'd like her info to take the plunge yourself or to maintain dreads you already have, shoot me a message using the contact form in the sidebar and I'll get you in contact with her.)


  1. I think you look great in dreads and I love that you know that your true worth and value lie in Jesus!
    Love this.